On April 15th, 2021, Mickie James was released by WWE.
It was a little stunning as she was just on Peacock days earlier, via the WWE Network, talking on the NXT Takeover Kickoff Show. It’s not like she was off television and doing nothing but collecting a check. This was one of the greatest women’s wrestlers of all-time being under contract to WWE and WANTING to do something. NEEDING to do something. Yet, the company felt she was towards the end of her run and let the legend go.
Fans were upset but hopeful that down the road, maybe Mickie James would re-surface, have a proper farewell tour and get the inevitable WWE Hall of Fame induction?
Like most WWE releases, it was reported that talent had to wait out the usual 90 day non-compete clause. For those those curious, this is not strictly a wrestling thing. Networks and other competing careers do indeed have non-compete clauses. With many buyouts or whatever, you can’t just leave one place and show up at the competitor 24 hours later. Same with WWE. Unless you specifically negotiate the right too waive the right or have a special deal, all fired/released talent have to wait 90 days before making their next move.
That is why Mickie James showing up in NWA yesterday was even more shocking! First off, shocking because nobody really knew where Mickie James was going to land after WWE. Some thought maybe a return to WWE once everything settled down. Maybe a return to Impact Wrestling where she had a lot of success in the past. Maybe she would continue doing her podcast/video stuff promoting women’s wrestling? Instead, it was NWA Power, where her real life husband Nick Aldis is the current reigning World Champion.
I love the move. Not just for the fact that she is going to make headlines but because of the immediate announcement that NWA is hosting an all women’s pay-per-view! When WWE ran their all women’s PPV back in 2018, Evolution, it was a resounding success! So many great matches, moments, and just a huge step in the right direction for women’s wrestling in the industry leader, WWE. Obviously, as history has shown, just a few short months later, the WrestleMania 35 main event was headlined by women. Fast forward to just two months ago, and Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair were in the main event of WrestleMania 37 Night One.
Now it is the NWA’s turn (August 28th, Saturday), with Mickie James leading the charge as ‘executive producer.’ Not the wrestler but the show runner.
Is that NWA’s way of working around the 90 non-compete clause? Is there something we’re not aware of? Andrade was just released by WWE had had reportedly worked out a deal to waive his 90 day non-compete clause. A super RARE case but still, he popped up on AEW already. Could Mickie have made a similar deal? Who knows? Either way, I have always been a big fan of Mickie James and think this is the perfect fit for her, NWA, and most importantly – the fans.
BY JUSTIN WATRY (TWITTER: @JustinWatry)